For parts of two days Lucy and I were at the Habs rookie camp in Brossard watching the young bucks skate like the wind and whistle shots like pucks out of a bazooka. And I couldn’t find Nikita Scherbak.
Where was this new 1st rounder? I wanted to see him. I paid big money and………okay it was free. But still.
We showed up for the red and white scrimmage on Monday, sat down, and two minutes later the game ended. So we didn’t see Scherbak, but then again, we didn’t see almost anybody else either.
After most of the fans had left, and because we’d just got there, we hung around and moved over to the other rink where only goalie Zachary Fucale was on the ice. Then a couple of other guys showed up, then a few more. Soon there was a bunch of them.
Including Nikita Scherbak.
He skated around with a gloomy look on his face. Sometimes he coughed. He fell down a few times while attempting one-timers. His shots, when he wasn’t falling down, looked weak. He looked confused while doing drills, and although his skating seemed fine, once or twice he escaped to the bench, sat by himself, and put his head down.
This was a young fellow who looked terrible. I wondered if he was out of shape. He’s not ready, said Lucy.
After everyone left the ice, including Scherbak, we strolled over and watched the boys across the way going through various dryland training stretches with a couple of terrific-looking ladies in great shape leading the group. These gals, who seemed close to the same age as the players, must love their job, I thought.
Then suddenly, making his way across to join the rest, was Scherbak again. Looking horrible. Like he’d rather be at the dentist. Walking slower than slow, his sweatshirt crumpled and stuck halfway up his back. Geezus, I thought.
Today I heard and read that Scherbak’s been sick and missed most of his rookie camp because of it.
I feel bad for the kid, but certainly not as bad as he probably feels.
A big page in his hockey career puked on by the flu gods. Such timing. Such bad luck. This wasn’t Nikita Scherbak at his finest, but someday, when he’s a regular on the big team, he might think back about his first rookie camp and laugh.
Or maybe not.